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Harry Fecitt

Two DSOs and an MC for the Nyala fighting, Darfur, Sudan 1921

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In his splendid little book The Fighting Sudanese

(Freely downloaded here: https://digitalt.uib.no/bitstream/handle/1956.2/2899/776_Jackson_1954_all_pages.pdf?sequence=1 )

H.C. Jackson on page 28 names two Sudanese officers who were awarded DSOs and one who was awarded a MC.

Please can any Member with a compilation of post-Great War gallantry awards advise the Gazette issues for these three ( and any other) awards, and for any despatch that might accompany the awards.

Harry

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Harry,


"The Fighting Sudanese" what a great little book, have downloaded it to my hard drive.

I have been looking for the London Gazette entries myself for the Nyala operations but as yet have had no luck also. Most likely were announced in the "Egyptian Government Gazette" not too sure about the LG.

I have here added a little more information on the operations and medals awarded, I will keep looking and when I find will post here also.

Regards, Brian.

NYALA
Operations between 26th September 1921 and 20th January 1922


This clasp comes before that of Darfur 1921 though the period of service for which it was awarded ended much later. In September 1921 Fiki Abdullabi El Suheina proclaimed himself the prophet Isa and obtained a considerable following in Southern Darfur. On the 26th September he attacked the District Headquarters at Nyala with 5000 men , but was driven off and killed, however this did not end the troubles, which lasted for a further four months. This clasp was awarded to 40 Mounted Infantry, 40 Police and a few friendly locals for the defence of Nyala, and also to members of the column under the command of El Bimbashi Grigg Bey, which operated south of Nyala until 20th January 1922.

Officers awarded the Clasp NYALA on the Khedives Sudan Medal 1910.

• Audas Robert Stamer, Captain, MC, R.A.V.C.
• Chown Harry, Captain R.A.V.C.
• Colville Robert Alfred, Major, MC, Coldstream Guards & Cameron Highlanders.
• Craig Falconer, Lt. Colonel, OBE, MC, 3rd Hussars.
• Ellison John Reynolds, Major, R.A.V.C.
• Foley Guy Francis, Major, CMG, OBE, MC, R.A.
• Going John, Captain, R.A.V.C. (N.O.R.) but marked as awarded in Soldiers of the Nile.
• Grigg Stanley Thomas, Lt. Colonel, DSO, MC, West Yorkshire Regiment.
• Hammersley Alfred Hastings St George, Major, MC, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry.
• Hunt William, Lt. Colonel, OBE, MC, R.A.M.C.
• Milligan Stanley Lyndall, CMG, DSO, Colonel, Highland Light Infantry.
• Richards William Masters, Captain, York & Lancaster Regiment.
• Whitmore-Smith Francis Mussenden, Major, MC, Queen’s Bays.
• Wilkins Kenneth William, Major, Worcestershire & Devonshire Regiments.
• Yockney W E. Major, Wiltshire Regiment.

Other Ranks

• Wadley G.W. 7578655 Armour Staff Sgt, R.A.O.C.
• Barton C. M/14169 Staff Sgt, R.A.S.C. (MT).
• Finding W. 315270 Staff Sgt, R.E.

Awards
London Gazette dates not as yet found

Yuzbashi, Billal Effendi Rizq (Distinguished Service Order).
Mulazim Awal, Hassan Effendi Mohammed Zein (Distinguished Service Order).
Saad Omar (Military Cross)

Edited by Vanuatu Blue

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It was impossible for these three to be awarded a British Commonwealth award, as they were officers of the Egyptian Army not a British colonial corps, the Sudan Defence Force has not yet been raised.

What the first two received was The Medal of Order of Muhammad 'Ali First Class in Gold, and

the Third the same in Second Class in Silver.

The only Distinguished Service Orders awarded in the inter-war years were :

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

THE SUDAN

WHITE Richard Finch Maj Essex Regiment, attached Egyptian Army. DSO 20 Apr 1920, p., for distinguished service in connection with operations against the Northern Turkana and kindren tribes. To be dated 3 Jun 1919. No Campaign Medal awarded.

TOTAL : One

KHARTOUM 1924

In 1924 the British Government assumed direct rule over the Sudan from Egypt, following the assassination in Cairo of Maj Gen Sir Lee Stack, Governor General of the Sudan and Sidar of the Egyptian Army. The Egyptian Army was ordered out of the Sudan within 24 hours, and the closure of the military school in Khartoum (the capital of the Sudan). On the 27 Nov, the 11th Sudanese Battalion mutinied. In the resulting operations, the British Military Hospital was occupied and a number of its staff killed. The hard core of the mutineers entrenched themselves there and in the Egyptian Officers Mess, a strongly built building. Reinforced by instructors from the Egyptian Army Musketry School, a fierce battle raged with British troops of the 1st Duke of Wellington's Regiment, 2nd Leicestershire Regiment and the 1st Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. By the 29th the mutiny had collapsed, with the majority of the mutineers escaping. Apart from the DSO, two first award bar's to the MC, one MC and four MMs were awarded. No campaign medal awarded.

COUPER James Robert Maj, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. DSO 25 Oct 1925, p.6773. 1st Battalion

TOTAL : One

Yours,

Mackinlay New South Wales.

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It was impossible for these three to be awarded a British Commonwealth award, as they were officers of the Egyptian Army not a British colonial corps

No not impossible.

Even if the names of the three personnel above listed cannot be found in the London Gazette, that initself does not mean they were not awarded the decorations mentioned - but only that the awards were not published in the London Gazette, which was at that time mostly the 'norm' for military decorations bestowed by the British upon foreign nationals

Egyptian Army personnel, like any other allied 'foreign' personnel could be awarded British gallantry decorations by the respective British authorities, as and when considered appropriate.

Whether the 3 x Egyptian Army officers were awarded DSO's and or the MC, I know not, but the Military Museum in the Citadel in Cairo certainly had at least one if not two 'Egyptian Army' groups containing MC's on display when I last visited their collection.

Reference the London Gazette issues published on 24 October 1916, and 29 May 1917, the 'Sirdar's' Despatches for the Darfur Operations therein contained, have long lists of Officers and Men, British and Egyptian Army, brought to notice of the Sirdar - at least 5 or 6 of those Egyptians 'Mentioned' therein have the post-nominals of either the D.S.O. (one sighted to Bimbashi, Mohammed Effendi Shahin) or M.C.

It would certainly be interesting to see a listing, partial or otherwise of known Egyptian Army personnel who were awarded British Orders and Decorations

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In response to the message from Aberdeen Medals.

Yes, I stand by the remark, it was IMPOSSIBLE.

The examples that the person gave were for the period of the 1914-20 War, The Great War, the operations relating to "claimed" awards were for EGYPTIAN Colonial Operations, not British.

These not operations commanded by the British Army, but, those British officers seconded to the Forces of the Kingdom of Egypt for military duties within the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan.

November 1924, Sir Lee Stack, The Governor General of Sudan and Sirdar, who was directly answerable to the King in Cairo was assassinated there.

Following this the UK assumed direct control of the Sudan, as a Protectorate, not a Colony, although it administered by the then Colonial Office. All members of the Egyptian Army (including British seconded officers), civil servants, and public employees of the Egyptian Government (these included British and Europeans who were direct employees) were ordered withdrawn from Sudan.

All British origin officials formerly of the Anglo-Sudan suzerainty were transferred to the British Sudan service (not Colonial Office, Colonial Service employees), and the London Gazette of 1925 is full of those men gazetted into Sudanese appointments; from District Commissioners to deck officers of the Sudanese River Transport Authority.

An example of such a man recruited is in : POOLE Major Jack, DSO, OBE, MC. Undiscovered Ends. Cassell, London, 1957. Hard cover, dustjacket, xii, 292p., photographs, index. In its chapters he gives a good description of his recruitment and service. A blurb on it can be seen at : http://www.artfact.com/auction-lot/undiscovered-ends-major-jack-poole-dso,-obe-mc-64-c-iv9sywiw9c

Whilst seconded to the Southern Sudan in 1997, I had dealings with his born out of wedlock to a Dinka woman son, Arthur, who was employed by the Red Cross, this a link to he and his son http://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/21/jamesastill.theobserver He during the time I knew him giving me in frequent discussion a excellent description of the British Governance of their protectorate.

To replace the disbanded Sudanese recruited battalions, the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) was formed as a para-military policing organisation, not a army to protect from external threat, this the role of the Khartoum based British garrison.

After wallying though to this, the honours and awards to the Egyptian Army. It is as I state impossible for such gallantry awards to have been awarded to a foreign army. The awards that Aberdeen Medals quoted are for Allied Operations in the 1914-20 War.

During the period of this conflict, under the direction of Sir Frederick Ponsonby, The Keeper of the Privy Purse for George V, had the duty for there being awarded to all "Allied Nations throughout the world" an exchange of Honours and Awards on a one for one basis. So this is how British serving in France and Flanders received the Order of the Rising Sun (in its various grades), while Japanese serving in operations in North China against the German Colonials received DSO, MC, DCM and MM's. Or South African's received Croix de Guerre's for German South West Africa, whilst an officer of Foreign Corps (the so called French Foreign Legion) of the French Colonial Army received a DSO for 1917 operations against the Berbers in Morocco.

In his entry; Ponsonby, Frederick Edward Grey, first Baron Sysonby (1867–1935)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; this is well recorded, as his 'stuff up' with the creation of The Order of The British Empire - there no such legal entity as the British Empire, and it was to have been the named for the legal entity, Order of the British Commonwealth, but, he did not like it. Since everyone believed in the British Empire concept, it passed (see

GALLOWAY Peter. The Order of The British Empire. Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, distributed by Spink and Sons, London, 1996, addendum). Ponsonby was not called that 'utter twit' for nothing, although the 'i' in twit was replaced by a 'a'!

It was the 'norm' for such awards granted to a foreign nation not to be published in the London Gazette, but, in the case of those foreign awards granted to the British Service, the granting authority did so publish.

It can and is confused by foreign officers serving on secondment such as liaison officers who were granted British Awards, such as DSO having the award published in the LG, as the award was made by a British Granting Authority

The awards were not made by the 'donating' nation having information of the relevant action of the man, but, just one of the 'job lot' granted to be awarded for similar actions as the Award Warrant recorded.

In the case of the Egyptian awards, there is no doubt in my mind that the British hierarchy of the Anglo-Sudan would have ensured the British awards was granted.

BUT, in 1920 for the Anglo-Egyptian operations described in Jackson, there was not such exchange. Officers and men of the Egyptian Army and other services serving in operations under British officers in the Sudan, the borders of Egypt and Palestine or within Palestine proper could only be awarded Egyptian awards granted by The King.

There was absolutely no British Legislation available in peace time (then and now) to award British gallantry decorations to members of Foreign Nations, and if required for a specific operation, a Special Bill has to be passed through the Houses of Parliament.

In exactly the same manner Foreign honours and awards cannot be accepted by the members of the British Service (a prime recent example being the Medal of Honor that the Commander of the US Navy SEAL Team tried to have awarded to a RM Sergeant of the Special Boat Service in Afghanistan in 2001, for the Qala-i-Janghi Fort Uprising, see LEWIS Damien. Bloody Heroes : Ultimate betrayal, Ultimate Firepower, Ultimate Revenge, The True story of Britain's Secret Warriors in Afghanistan. Century, London, 2006. Well worthy of the VC, due to the stuff up ended up with a Mention in Despatches, took his discharge and ended up tragically killed in a motorised hang glider accident in Cyprus the following week!)

FORTH Nevill de Rouen. A Fighting Colonel of Camel Corps. The story of Lt Colonel de Lancey Forth, DSO and Bar, MC. Merlin Books, Braunton, Devon, 1991. He in the Egyptian Frontier Force Camel Corps pre and post war, and he recommended for a further Bar to the DSO for commanding in internal security operations against Saudi Bedouin bandits in the Sinai Penisula in 1919, but at this time the exchange of awards had ceased, received the The Medal of Order of Muhammad 'Ali First Class in Gold instead (which he liked as he got another medal riband rather than a little bit of silver on the DSO riband!!!).

In regard to the history of the Sudan, there is a huge amount of misinformation on it placed upon the internet. This due to the political nature of the country since 1956, and its recent breakup into two separate nations in a quasi state of war.

 

The Sudan Studies Society of the UK, which from 1987 a very informative journal which in its early editions produced authoritive article on its Anglo-Egyptian history, which I subscribed to until the mid-1990's when activists of the South had taken the Society over, all the academics and interested persons left and it became a propaganda tool of those rebelling against the rule of Khartoum.

A moderate Muslim Sudanese (from the South) wrote, it "turned a British democratic organization into a US style one-sided activist forum flaunting Islamophobic and anti-Arab prejudice and encouraging conflict not reconciliation in the Sudan." Whilst I have my bias I must concurn

A good initial primer upon the Sudan and its post Great War history is : O'BALLANCE, Colonel Edgar. The Secret War in the Sudan, 1955-1972. Shoe String Press, not shown, 1977. Hard cover, dustjacket, xx, 177pp., photographs, maps, index (unpaginated). ISBN 0208016929. Its initial chapter gives a good potted history, from 1919 and how the UK ended up (very unwillingly) running it, and as with so many of O'Ballance's texts used by the United Nations as a standard introductory text for UN Military Observers and civilian Field Officers.

For those interested in the British history in the Sudan, the Durham University Library Special Collections is huge and superb. An example being the collection of the papers relating to General Sir Reginald Wingate, 200 boxes of this man who created order out of the chaos of the Sudan, but, who today left wing academics sneer and denigrate.

I have a particular interest in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, with family members serving there from the 1880's, and having three direct direct relatives in Khartoum in NOV 1924, one a Ordnance Fitter who had just arrived from Apprentice Training in the UK was in the hospital having had ingrowing toenails removed, and escaped the massacre by the skin of his teeth (his words).

Whilst not related to this, but, I think of interest, below is a message sent to a Military Railway discussion group in June, relating to the Sudan Military Railway.

Yours,

Mackinlay New South Wales.

I recently assisted a gentleman with some copies of documents relating to the campaign in Darfur in 1916, and other minor campaigns in British Sudan during the Great War.

These the product of a relative who had worked the railways in the Sudan (mainly on the Red Sea in his early days) from the 1880’s when he went there as a very young British soldier in the Royal Engineers, and his subsequent service as a civilian. He seeing a great deal of active service up to the Great War when he commissioned into the British Service and became responsible for the rear logistical support for the Darfur Campaign and other military operations to 1919.

The chap sent me the link http://www.victorianwars.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4786 which relates to military railways within the Sudan in the 1880’s>, which may be of some interest.

Those soldiers who fought in the Sudan during the Great War were awarded the Khedive’s Sudan Medal 1910-22, this is shown in the entry for Major Gee at
http://www.elite-collections.com/Groups_6.htm A quite large number of British soldiers were awarded the medal, and for those who were involved in the earlier fighting in 1914-15 along the border with Libya against the Turkish led Sennussi they were entitled to the 1914-15 Star.

A somewhat inaccurate description of the Darfur is at http://www.kaiserscross.com/188001/224322.html the writer does not make it clear that the majority of the troops were British Army regulars not local troops, ie. the mounted infantry, artillery and camel corps were all British as were most of the support troops, some 1,300 men out of the 2,700 in the force (not 2,000 as the article says) plus some 1,500 British led Sudanese and Egyptian civilians who mainly running the baggage train of over 1,200 camels, and a thousand plus donkeys and mules, and acting as bearers. I having copies of the ongoing official reports of the campaign.

The relative, our mother’s uncle had a great swag of medals and honours for his forty odd years in the Sudan, on his death the medal group was split up with each of his large brood throughout the world receiving two items each. His papers eventually ended up in the hands of our eldest brother, thinking that it would be of interest to catalogue them, I when over in New Zealand in April had a look at the collection.

It filling three large tin trunks, containing not just his personal papers, but large scale maps, plans of the entire rail system throughout the Nation, bridge and earth works design, literally thousands of photographs all entitled and contained within albums (it appears he had a long time interest in photography), specifications of all locos and rolling stock, design of railway stations, signal boxes, rail yards, time tables for virtually his entire time in country, reports of railway operations, military support operations, constructions etc!

The sheer immensity of the documentation was quite staggering, and my brother is currently in contact with the British National Archives in Kew, London, about handing them over to their jurisdiction, as they would quite probably the most complete set of documents relating to a British African Protectorate (or any colony) railway system in its earliest years.
Yours,
G/.
G.A.MACKINLAY
SINCE THEN My brother informed me that National Archives contacted him saying they required a correctly documented record of all items, with photos if possible. If acceptable, he would be responsible for forwarding the items to the UK, with a requirement that he paying also for the insurance. Somewhat annoyed, he has accepted the cost, hired a professional catelouger (a Englishman with military, colonial and railway knowledge to do so), and will ship off (by sea) to the UK.

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H.C. Jackson on page 28 names two Sudanese officers who were awarded DSOs and one who was awarded a MC.

Please can any Member with a compilation of post-Great War gallantry awards advise the Gazette issues for these three ( and any other) awards, and for any despatch that might accompany the awards.

Harry,

I am not sure if you have seen it already, but an earlier 'official' source than H.C. Jackson's 'Fighting Soudanese' has a good detailed account on the Nyala action of 1921, see pages 10-13 of 'Report on the Finances, Administration and Condition of the Soudan in 1921' (By Major General H.W. Jackson, Acting Governor General of the Soudan) - the report is accessible on-line at the Special Collections of Durham University. The link for the report is below;

http://reed.dur.ac.uk/metsnav/sadsir/navigate.do?oid=http://endure.dur.ac.uk:8080/fedora/get/UkDhU:52c43838-f418-400e-a669-3a8d7f5f9aa6/METS&pn=1&size=screen

I here mention the above official report as it specifically states that the 3 x Egyptian Army personnel referred to in Vanuatu Blue's earlier post were awarded 2 x Distinguished Service Orders, and a Military Cross. Whether these officers were actually awarded those decorations I know not, but in light of Gam47's last message in which he made his strong case against such awards, it might nevertheless still be worth checking relevant Colonial Office files/reports of the period to see whether 'British' awards were indeed made to those Egyptian Army personnel or if not, whether any official recommendations were ever submitted.

I note that there is some Colonial Office file on Nyala 1921 extant at The National Archives, but not being accessible on-line, and not being able to visit the The National Archives fo myself, it's not a source I will be able to further check.

Possibly the Yuzbashi Billal Effendi Rizq, reported to have been awarded a D.S.O., is one and the same as Belal (sic) Effendi Rizq of the Camel Corps, then holding rank of Mulazim Awal, who appears in the lists of those mentioned for good services in the earlier Darfur Operations of 1916 (reference London Gazette of 24 October 1916). The link for that gazette is;

http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/29800/supplements/10366

You might also want to refer to the anecdotal note by the well known Sudan historian H.G. Keown-Boyd that was published in the Orders & Medal Research Society Journal, Autumn 1997, on page 201. Wherein the author relates to an incident that occurred in the Sudan National Record Office in Khartoum in November, 1995, on which visit he was leafing through some of what he refers to as 'Egyptian Army' orders that included a report on the 1921 Nyala action, for which the author also states that Billal Effendi was awarded the D.S.O. Unfortunately no document refernece is cited for what Egyptian Army orders were consulted, but certainly worth here mentioning.

As information.

Edited by Aberdeen Medals

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In my first message re this subject, I informed that the three Egyptian Army officers were awarded for their actions "What the first two received was The Medal of Order of Muhammad 'Ali First Class in Gold, and the Third the same in Second Class in Silver."

These awards were recorded in English in a number of publications in the UK in the 1920's that related to Post Great War operations.

I presented to the National Army Museum some years ago a document which due to its sheer size I just could not afford to publish (some 3,000 A4 pages of typescript) both in hard print form and electronic copy. This is not available for perusal for the general researchers as it is my intellectual property, and is upon my death the property of the NAM to do as they wish. I do hope to publish in a quality format, a short production run of it before I drop me clogs.

This text relates to a systematic page by page examination of the London Gazette in relation to the Distinguished Service Order from the 1880's to the John Major British Honours and Awards system botched "reform', it also includes from both the Great War and 1939-45 War those awards made by grant to Allied Services. Whilst the 'Honorary' awards made to Allied officers were recorded in the LG, those for the period of 1914-20 were obtained from records held by the Chancellery as to the issue of the insignia of the DSO. These through records even include the White Armies in Russia fighting in the White Sea, Southern and Siberian Fronts.

I examined the After War Lists published within the LG also, and my records show no Egyptian Army or other Services being in receipt of post 1918 military operations awards. But, also there are no record of any award of the Order to Egyptian Nationals receiving it during the Great War period for operations in the Sudan, Egyptian-Libyan frontier, or Palestine.

It would be suggested than an examination of the always authoritive text that is readily available within the UK (including on inter-library loan) :

ABBOTT Peter E., TAMPLIN J.M.A. British Gallantry Awards. Nimrod Dix & Co, London, 1981. Hard cover, dust jacket, xx, 316., photographs, index.

be made. In this it plainly shows only one DSO (that for Khartoum) awarded for inter-war conflict, the award for Major White being for operations carried out that were a continuance of operations that commenced pre-11th November, 1918 (similar to awards granted for the North West Frontier of India, and Burma).

Army Council Administrative Instructions relating to military honours and awards issued during the Great War were printed into ad hoc pamphlets for staff officer use by the GOCs of the British Expeditionary Forces in France and Flanders (including Italy), Palestine, the Army of Salonika, and British East Africa. These plainly describing the granting of awards to Allied Nationals.

These transferred into The War Officer Pamphlet On Military Honours and Awards 1920, that remained extant with stick-in amendments until it republished in July, 1953 under same title as WO Code No 10414, 26/Publications/6945. It was a restrictive document not available to the Public through His/Her Britannic Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

In the case of both of these documents, due to the sheer lack of available copies during the period of time they were published locally under the authority of Home and Overseas Commands until finally replaced in the 1980's, then by the new regulations from the Major reforms.

You may search as you wish, but, you will not find. As I said IMPOSSIBLE. It must be remembered that the DSO is an ORDER, along with the Orders British India, Bath, CMG not granted lightly, with their insignia only available from The Chancellery.

Over the years I have been informed of vast numbers of so called missed awards, they not missed they never awarded. In the huge number of battalion histories of the Great War published by enthusiasts, they recording in their pages honours and awards which where never granted. They finding them within the pages of the units War Diary, but, unfortunately due to the so called 'quota', in actual fact the Operational Awards Scale, based upon the average strength of the Force employed, they were not granted.

Along with misidentifying awards such as the Distinguished Service Cross for the DSO, or the DSM for the DCM, these errors are picked up by researchers and compounded.

In relation to my current major project, I informed in South Africa a move to have two NCOs awarded the VC for their actions alongside Brevet Major H.G. Moore, Connaught Rangers November, 1877. When he involved in the rescue of a dismounted man and awarded the VC. While the two NCOs actions were vastly superior to those of Moore, they could not be awarded the VC as they men of The Frontier Armed and Mounted Police, not a gazetted military organisation. With their CO wisely bumping them up from Third Class Sergeants to First Class and received a good increase in pay.

In Australia, we constantly have the civilian enthusiasts beavering away to have awards increased, or granted, usually for the VC. Not comprehending at the time that those powers that be knew what they were doing (in this case well and truly put in their place, WILSON Graham. Dust Donkeys and Delusions. The Myth of Simpson and his Donkey Exposed. Big Sky Publications, Newport, NSW, 2012.)

In the case of these three Egyptians, they did receive the equivalent in THEIR ARMY of the DSO and the MC, you cannot blame the enthusiastic officer who does not know, and does not have competent and efficient staff officers at their side when they write their again enthusiastic documents.

I must point out that my parents were not drug damaged hippies, and so that my surname is not GAM47 (as much as left wing governments would like us to be all electronically coded) but MACKINLAY, which is plainly displayed at the foot of the messages.

Yours,

Mackinlay New South Wales

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Thank you to everyone who has contributed.

All I wish to do is to write about the actions and the gallantry of the men concerned.

The fact that the men were proposed for those awards is the really useful piece of information. What they actually received, if anything, is best left to someone nearer London to verify in the future, if he or she can.

Any further information will be really appreciated.

(And for those Members who might wish to soak up a little of the old Sudan, obtain a copy of the delightful People of the Book by Major A.J. Pott DCM. (Blackwood 1932).

Harry

Edited by Harry Fecitt

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Mr Mackinlay et al

Salaam Aleykum

I have read through all your kind comments and besides thanking you again I have some of my own thoughts and comments:

1. A somewhat inaccurate description of the Darfur is at http://www.kaiserscross.com/188001/224322.html the writer does not make it clear that the majority of the troops were British Army regulars not local troops, ie. the mounted infantry, artillery and camel corps were all British as were most of the support troops, some 1,300 men out of the 2,700 in the force (not 2,000 as the article says) plus some 1,500 British led Sudanese and Egyptian civilians who mainly running the baggage train of over 1,200 camels, and a thousand plus donkeys and mules, and acting as bearers. I having copies of the ongoing official reports of the campaign.

Mr Mackinlay, as author of that article I regret the inadequacies that you see in it.

However chaps like myself in remote locations can only work with the material that we may access, and all the above figures and descriptions come from page 148 of the 1st Volume of the Official History, Military History, Egypt and Palestine.

I have no apologies to offer because I at least did something and produced something based on an official history and the account of a participant (People of the Book by Major A.J. Pott DCM)..

But please Mr Mackinlay if you can offer us further knowledge and insight into the Darfur Campaign, then please publish it, even if it is in note form, on this or another forum.

I am sure that all of us would greatly appreciate that.

2. To quote from Soldiers of the Nile. A Biographical History of the British Officers and of the Egyptian Army 1882-1925 by Henry Keown-Boyd.

The bars NYALA and DARFUR 1921 are usually found together and were awarded to those troops and police involved in the suppression of an uprising by the followers of a Fiki by the name of Abdullahi el Suheina who declared himself to be the prophet Isa (Jesus). On 26 September 1921 the insurgents attacked the District HQ Nyala and overran it, killing the District Commissioner, Mr McNeil, and El Bimbashi Chown of the Veterinary Department.

However a skilful and heroic counter-attack by about 100 Western Arab Corps Mounted Infantry and police under El Yuzbashi Bilal Rizq, outnumbered by about 50-1, drove off the enemy and killed the Fiki in the process. For this exploit Rizq was awarded the DSO. (paragraph continues)

3. To quote again from page 152 of the aforementioned Official History:

The Province of Darfur, now pacified except in its remote north-west corner, was once again part of the Sudan, to the population of which it added a million inhabitants. For a time, as was the case after wars in Europe in the Middle Ages, bands of armed and masterless men roamed the country pillaging the defenceless, but they were gradually hunted down and broken up, and the administration was soon firmly established.

4. in view of the post-campaign lawlessness in Darfur it is possible that in some people's minds the Darfur Campaign was still running for the Nyala action, and so a DSO was justified.

Staff officers and medal-list compilers might violently disagree that the DSO was an eligible award at the time, but the men in the field doing the fighting might well, as I have seen myself being a field soldier, decide what they wished to award.

And if a DSO was lying around in a drawer as part of a war-time batch then it could just have been pinned onto Bilal Rizq.

And when staff officers whinged about the ineligibility of the award they may just have been told: "Pipe down; do not publish it; let Bilal wear it".

Amongst fighting men such things happen - and in the remoteness of the Sudan who was going to care less, as Bilal deserved the award.

Fee Amn All'ah

Harry

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Just as a matter of interest to relevant Members I came across this Empire Gallantry Medal today whilst perusing the LG (Supplement dated 23 June 1936 page 4010):

CENTRAL CHANCERY OF THE ORDERS OF KNIGHTHOOD.


St. James's Palace, S.W.I. 23rd June, 1936: The KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday, to approve of the Award of the Medal of the Military Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire to the undermentioned:— For Gallantry.

El Yuzbashi ('Captain) El Amin Effendi Hemeida, Sudan Defence Force.

For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in circumstances of very considerable personal danger. On the morning of 4th January, 1936, in the Barracks at Omdurman, a party of the Sudan Defence Force were engaged in making explosive charges. El Amin Effendi Hemeida was in charge of a section of the working party, whose duty was to place the guncotton and primers in containers. A charge which was being assembled in another part of the room accidentally exploded, killing one Non-Commissioned Officer and injuring a Native Officer and eight Non-Commissioned Officers. The building was extensively damaged and fire broke out in several places.

El Yuzbashi El Amin Effendi Hemeida, though uninjured was badly shaken and dazed. On recovering, although fully realising the risk of further explosions, since he knew that three more containers filled by his section were still in the room, he immediately went to the assistance of the injured, and then took active steps to extinguish the fires and remove the unharmed charges to a place of safety. His gallant behaviour was instrumental in saving at least one life among the injured, and his presence of mind undoubtedly prevented further explosions which must have resulted in greater loss of life.

Am I correct in thinking that once the Sudan Defence Force was created in 1925 its personnel were eligible for entry into the British Honours & Awards system, and it is the period after the Great War ended and before the SDF was created that Mr Mackinlay refers to as an ineligible period for Sudanese personnel?

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Harry, Mark and Mackinlay,

Further to all of the above, have done a little homework, here is what I have found !!! Very interesting !!!

Recommendations

Yuzbashi Bilal Effendi Rizk, Western Arab Corps

Who after Mr McNeill and Captain Chown had been killed by his pluck, resource and leadership averted what would have been a great disaster and retrieved the position. His march from Fasher to Nyala a distance of 120 miles in under 50 hours is alone worthy of recognition. I recommend Yuzbashi Bilal Effeb=ndi Rizk for the Distinguised Service order.

Mulizam Awal Hassan Effendi Mohamed Zein, Native District Officer.

Who rendered the greatest assistance to Mr McNeill in the earlier stages of the fight and after the death of the later, so gallantly supported Yuzbashi Bilal Effendi Rizk in the counter attack. He displayed the greatest courage throughout and by his fine example to his Police encouraged them to emulate dogged spirit of the troops. I recommend him for the Distinguised Service Order.

Mulizam Awal Saad Omar, Western Arab Corps.

Who was in command of the detached post in the market and though attacked by a party of rebel Arabs who were bent on looting the shops kept his men well in hand and carried out the roll assigned to him in a most praiseworthy manner. Had it not been for his coolness and good judgment in the early stages of the fight, in keeping his small force intact, it would not have been possible for Yuzbashi Bilal Effendi Rizk to launch his successful counter attack which was such an outstanding feature of the engagement. He afterwards showed great coolness in the final defence of the Fort. I recommend him for the Military Cross.

Letter from High Commissioner Residency Cairo, 15th March 1922.

Sir, with reference to Sir Lee Stack's Despatch No. MS/B14/185 of 30th November last transmitting certain decorations and awards in connection with the Nyala rising in September last, I have the honour to inform you that a telegram has been received from the Foreign office stating that H.M. The King has been pleased to approve the awards proposed in the case of three Egyptian Officers mentioned Viz:

DSO

El Yuzbashi Belal Effendi Rizk

El Mulizam Awal Hassan Effendi Mohamed Zein

MC

El Mulazim Awal Saad Effendi Omar

Etc Etc Your Obedient Servent. High Commissioner Cairo, Egypt.

and further

Letter from the Foreign office S.W.1 April 26th 1922 to The Governor General Sudan.

Sir with reference to my despatch No 282 of the 15th ultimo, I transmit to you herewith two badges of the Distinguished Service Order which the King has been graciously pleased to confer upon Yuzbashi Bilal Effendi Rizk and Mulizam Awal Hassan Effendi Mohamed Zein together with the Military Cross awarded to Mulazim Awal Saad Omar.

In accordance with His Majesty's commands, I request that you will take such steps as you may consider proper to ensure the delivery of these of these decorations to the officers respectively concerned. His majesty desires that they should, if possible, be personally delivered not by way of investiture but in an Official and ceremonial manner.

Letter from headquarters Khartoum to High Commissioner Egypt. dated 4th June 1922

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your despatch No 161,M (13795/45) dated 27th ultimo, together with the two badges of the Distinguished Service Order and also Military Cross therewith. These Decorations are being forwarded to the Officer Commanding Darfur District where the officers in question are at present serving with full instructions to the presentation of same.

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Vanuatu Blue,

Well done on your checking the relevant primary sources and in so-doing coming up with the proof that awards of the DSO & MC, were indeed made to several Egyptian/Sudanese Officers for their gallantry and distinguished services at Nyala.

Thanks in particular for clearly linking together the entire awards process, from submission of original recommendations decorations, through to approval, despatch of insignia and ultimate presentation of awards in Darfur.

A fine piece of original research that adds positively to our knowledge of the early 20th Century military history of the Sudan and the medals awarded for service there.

Shabash.......

Edited by Aberdeen Medals

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Blue

I can only echo the Aberdonian's words.

This is the type of research information that we need excavating from its resting places.

I am pleased - especially for the recipients. Shahbash to them too!

Harry

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Oh, well done! Shabash, indeed, to both the worthy recipients of those awards and to Vanuatu Blue for an important piece of research.

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